Question: I keep hearing that recruiters can really help me land a new job. Can you tell me more about what they do, and how I can find a good one?
Answer: A good recruiter (or headhunter) will propel your job search, producing faster results. They are aware of many job opportunities before they’re advertised and they use their business contacts to get you through the door. They also market or sell your skills and expertise to potential employers, and conduct salary negotiations on your behalf.
Recruiters usually work with competent professionals who have a strong chance of landing a job offer with one of their target companies. This means that you need to impress the recruiter first, and then continue to make a positive impact with employers as you proceed with your job hunt.
It’s important to find a recruiter who understands the demands of your industry. Personality matters, too, so look for someone who you can trust with your confidential job search.
One way to find a qualified recruiter is through word of mouth. Talk to colleagues and friends who have firsthand experience in your field. Another way is to read trade journals and industry-specific Web sites. You may also find recruiting firms in the phone book or on the Internet. If you aren’t referred to the company, learn as much as you can about the firm through newspaper articles and publications.
After you locate a few recruiters or headhunters in your field, send an introductory letter and resume, or call to set up a face-to-face meeting. Treat every interaction like an interview. Make a strong, professional impression and clearly demonstrate the value that you will bring to employers.
Remember that the hiring company will pay the recruiter directly for a successful job placement. You should never pay a fee for any part of this service.
Question: In a previous column, you mentioned that the recruiter works as the intermediary between the employer and the job candidate. Is there a service that works the opposite way? Are there agencies that would market my resume and work as the intermediary between me and the employer?
Answer: I believe that you are asking if there are agencies or consultants that act as your representative in the job market, working for you rather than the potential employers.
All established recruiters work for their clients (the companies) to locate the best candidates to meet their current or future needs. And while they aren’t considered recruiters, there are firms that represent job seekers directly. In different markets, they may be referred to as career development coaches, career guidance consultants or employment consultants.
These professionals work with you to perform assessment tests, suggest appropriate career paths, offer resume writing and interviewing guidance, and research companies that may be a good match for your experience. They will also teach you how to pursue and present yourself to a specific organization, giving you a better chance of landing a job.
According to a friend of mine in the business, these consulting firms generally do not guarantee a job placement. And while their fees may be too steep for some individuals, they offer a complete package of services that may be beneficial if you need comprehensive job search support.
Send your job search questions to Eve.GetAJob@gmail.com.